NEW YORK, July 15 –
The starting five for the team of WNBA All-Stars that will take on the U.S. National Team on August 5 for “WNBA vs. USA Basketball: The Game at Radio City” was announced this evening during ESPN2’s WNBA Shootaround prior to the Houston Comets hosting of the Detroit Shock.
A panel of local and national media selected Phoenix Mercury guard Anna DeForge, Los Angeles Sparks guard Nikki Teasley, Connecticut Sun forward Nykesha Sales, Detroit Shock forward Cheryl Ford and Connecticut Sun center Taj McWilliams-Franklin to represent the WNBA. Washington Mystics forward Chamique Holdsclaw was selected as a starting forward, but will be unable to participate in the game because of a prior commitment to run a basketball camp in early August. “WNBA vs. USA Basketball: The Game at Radio City” will serve as a final send-off as the U.S. finishes its preparations for Athens. ESPN will televise the game nationally, on Thursday, August 5 at 7 p.m.
Cheryl Ford, Detroit Shock|
Ray Amati/NBAE/Getty Images
Detroit Head Coach Bill Laimbeer and his assistants will serve as the coaching staff for the WNBA All-Star Team. WNBA head coaches will select the first five All-Star reserves, who will be announced on-air during ESPN2’s coverage of the Minnesota at Connecticut game on July 22.
For the first time, fans around the world will select the final player on the WNBA All-Star roster through WNBA.com’s new, comprehensive section devoted to the “WNBA vs. USA Basketball: The Game at Radio City.” The final reserve will be announced on air during coverage of the Los Angeles at Sacramento game on July 29 on ESPN2.
WNBA.com’s coverage of the game will also include extensive photo galleries, WNBA All-Star history section, game video highlights, chats with players and coaches, and more.
Tickets to the “WNBA vs. USA Basketball: The Game at Radio City” can be purchased by calling 1-877-WNBA-TIX, logging on to WNBA.com, or through ticketmaster outlets in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut and ticketmaster.com.
The USA Basketball Women's Senior National Team roster is comprised of Sue Bird (Seattle Storm), Swin Cash (Detroit Shock), Tamika Catchings (Indiana Fever), Yolanda Griffith (Sacramento Monarchs), Shannon Johnson (San Antonio Silver Stars), Lisa Leslie (Los Angeles Sparks), DeLisha Milton-Jones (Los Angeles Sparks), Katie Smith (Minnesota Lynx), Dawn Staley (Charlotte Sting), Sheryl Swoopes (Houston), Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury) and Tina Thompson (Houston Comets).
The head coach of the U.S. team is Houston Comets Head Coach Van Chancellor. He will be joined on the sidelines by Seattle Storm Head Coach Anne Donovan, Duke Head Coach Gail Goestenkors and Rutgers Head Coach C. Vivian Stringer.
The U.S. capped a successful spring training schedule with an unblemished 13-0 record in its early preparations for Athens. Featuring three separate training sessions, the USA's competition ranged from national and professional club teams to the 2004 WBCA All-Star Team, with games played in six international arenas and four domestic cities.
Ratings for ABC’s and ESPN2’s telecasts of WNBA games are up 29 and 35 percent respectively from a year ago. The season-opening telecast featuring the Phoenix Mercury at the Connecticut Sun was the highest rated WNBA game (regular season or playoffs) ever on ABC, and the July 11 telecast featuring the Mercury at the New York Liberty was the highest rated WNBA regular season game ever on ESPN2.